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Blind SpotWhen Journalists Don't Get Religion$
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Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green-Ahmanson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374360.001.0001

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Religion and Terrorism: Misreading al Qaeda

Religion and Terrorism: Misreading al Qaeda

(p.31) 2 Religion and Terrorism: Misreading al Qaeda
Blind Spot

Paul Marshall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes Islamist terrorists’ developed ideology and how to them this explains and justifies their brutalities. It then contrasts their stated motives and rationales with press coverage of their attacks in Yemen, Bali, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, seeking to show that both the terrorists’ goals and the identity of their victims are repeatedly misstated. Whereas Al Qaeda consistently describes its intended targets in religious loaded terms—as Christians, Jews, Crusaders, followers of the cross, Hindus, Buddhists, apostates, idolaters, infidels, and polytheists—and will frequently spare people, even Americans, if they are Muslims, many journalists consistently describe Al Qaeda strikes as attacks on “westerners,” “non-Arabs,” or “Americans” and their allies. Consequently, the connection between Australian and United Nations actions in East Timor and the bombings in Bali and of the UN compound in Baghdad were missed almost entirely.

Keywords:   al Qaeda, terrorism, UN, Yemen, Iraq, Bali, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, ideology, apostates

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